Excel NOW Function

Using the Excel NOW Function


The NOW function in Excel is used to return the current date and time. Excel will change the cell format from General to match the date and time format from your regional settings. The NOW function is very powerful when used with other functions or formulas the require the current date and time to calculate a value. The function will update each time the worksheet is opened.


=NOW ()

Syntax Breakdown

Excel's NOW function is different from many of the other functions that we cover because it does not require any arguments. It doesn't get much easier than this!

Usage Notes

Finding NOW in the Past and Future
NOW is designed to provide you with the date and time right now. What if you would like to see the time 12 hours ago? Or 15 days from now? This can be accomplished by adding or subtracting full or partial days from NOW.

Manipulating the NOW function

Manually Updating NOW
The NOW function should automatically update each time the workbook is opened. If you need to refresh while you are still in the spreadsheet you can press F9. This will force the spreadsheet to recalculate and update the values.

Spreadsheet Not Updating When Opened
If you notice that NOW is not updating as expected when you access the spreadsheet you can resolve this issue in the Control Panel for Excel's desktop application. You can access this by going to File > Options. A new window will open. Select Formulas from the left options menu. Select Automatic from the Workbook Calculation section.

Excel NOW Calculation Update Settings

I Need a Static Time That Doesn't Change
Excel's NOW function is designed to update to always reflect the date and time when it is refreshed. If you would like a static time that won't change you can use the following convenient shortcut:
Ctrl + Shift + :